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June 21, 2011

And now for a break …

As you can tell by the frequency of recent blog posts, this is the down time of the college sporting calendar. As such, I’ll be on vacation through July 5, going into a tweet and blog silence.

On the docket? Get married in Richmond and honeymoon in Jamaica. So it will be a full schedule.

But the blog will re-charge and be rearing to go in July. Remember, once I get back it’s only two weeks and a day until the start of SEC media days in Hoover, the unofficial start of the football season. Practice isn’t long after that, and the games are just around the corner.

Until then, football will be the furthest thing from my mind.

June 20, 2011

Auburn’s championship rings finally arrive

Auburn’s championship rings are finally here.

The Tigers tweeted plenty of photos of their championship bling from last season, shortly after receiving it Sunday night in the team meeting room at the athletic complex.

It has been five months since Auburn beat Oregon 22-19 for the BCS championship in Glendale, Ariz., the team’s first national title 1957.

Auburn’s players appear to have received three rings. One for winning the SEC championship, one for the BCS title and one for the national championship.

We’ll check today if more info about the rings is available. Until then, enjoy the photos.

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June 16, 2011

Dan Gamache signs with Pittsburgh Pirates

Auburn third baseman Dan Gamache, as expected, signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Wednesday, ending his college career.

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Gamache, a junior who was a surprise sixth-round pick, got a $125,000 bonus to go pro. He batted .299 with 5 home runs and 29 RBIs for Auburn last year.  He’s likely to be assigned to the State College (Pa.) Spikes, the Pirates’ short-season affiliate.

Gamache was one of six Auburn players and four signees who were drafted earlier this month.

Here’s who has signed (where they are assigned and bonus if available listed at the end):

  • 3B Dan Gamache, Pittsburgh Pirates, 6th round, State College Spikes (expected), $125,000
  • C Tony Caldwell, Florida Marlins, 24th round, GCL Marlins

Here are Auburn’s unsigned players as of Wednesday night:

  • RHP Clay Holmes (signee), Pittsburgh Pirates, 9th round
  • SS Casey McElroy, San Diego Padres, 11th round
  • RHP Derek Varnadore, Florida Marlins, 17th round
  • RHP Bradley Hendrix, Tampa Bay Ray, 22nd round
  • 1B Kevin Patterson, Toronto Blue Jays, 30th round
  • OF Ryan Tella (JUCO signee), Minnesota Twins, 34th round
  • RHP Rocky McCord (signee), Minnesota Twins, 39th round
  • OF Colton Davis (signee), Houston Astros, 50th round

June 15, 2011

On a roll: Auburn adds commitment from top Georgia WR JaQuay Williams

Auburn kept its recruiting roll going today when four-star wide receiver JaQuay Williams of Tyrone, Ga., said he’ll sign with the Tigers in 2012.

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Williams is the Tigers’ 10th commitment for next year and their eighth overall since May 24 (seven 2012 commits and DL Dee Liner for 2013).

The  6-foot-3, 204-pound Williams, who is the top receiver in Georgia, also had Ohio State as a finalist.

He is ranked as the No. 93 player nationally by 247Sports, No. 94 by Rivals and No. 106 by Scout.

Rivals lists him as the No. 12 receiver nationally, Scout No. 16 and 247Sports No. 20.

Williams had 85 catches for 1,570 yards and 19 touchdowns in three seasons at Heard County High but has transferred to Sandy Creek High for his senior year.

Here’s Auburn’s full commitment list. Ratings are by Rivals/Scout/247Sports:

  • Shane Callahan, OL, 6-6, 277, Parker, Colo. (Chaparral High), 4-star/4/3
  • Joshua Holsey, CB, 5-9, 171, Fairburn, Ga. (Creekside High), 4-star/4/3
  • Darrion Hutcherson, ATH, 6-7, 245, Dadeville, Ala. (Dadeville High), 3-star/4/3
  • Ricardo Louis, WR, 6-2, 190, Miami Beach, Fla. (Miami Beach High), 4-star/4/4
  • Cassanova McKinzy, LB, 6-3, 220, Birmingham, Ala. (Woodlawn High), 4-star/4/4
  • Ricky Parks, TE, 6-3, 230, Hogansville, Ga. (Callaway High), 4-star/4/4
  • Darius Philon, DE, 6-2, 265, Prichard, Ala. (Vigor), NR/3-star/3
  • Zeke Pike, QB, 6-5, 220, Fort Mitchell, Ky. (Dixie Heights High), 4-star/5/5
  • JaQuay Williams, WR, 6-3, 204, Tyrone, Ga. (Sandy Creek High), 4-star/4/4
  • T.J. Yeldon, RB, 6-2, 205, Daphne, Ala. (Daphne High), 4-star/4/4

Here’s a look at where the players stack up on some overall lists by the recruiting sites:

Rivals Top 250

  • 58. T.J. Yeldon, RB
  • 72. Zeke Pike, QB
  • 92. Ricky Parks, TE
  • 94. JaQuay Williams, WR
  • 191. Shane Callahan, OL
The 247
  • 18. Zeke Pike, QB
  • 66. Ricky Parks, TE
  • 93. JaQuay Williams, WR
  • 110. T.J. Yeldon, RB
  • 165. Cassanova McKinzy, LB

Scout (top 250)

  • 25. Zeke Pike, QB
  • 88. Ricky Parks, TE
  • 98. T.J. Yeldon, RB
  • 106. JaQuay Williams, WR
  • 117. Joshua Holsey, CB
  • 159. Ricardo Louis, WR
  • 176. Shane Callahan, OL

ESPNU Top 150

  • 32. Ricardo Louis, WR
  • 73. Ricky Parks, TE
  • 77. Joshua Holsey, CB
  • 121. T.J. Yeldon, RB

June 14, 2011

Report: Earnest Ross will transfer to Missouri

Former Auburn basketball player Earnest Ross will transfer to Missouri, according to a report by CBS Sports.

Ross, a 6-foot-5 guard, led the Tigers in with 13.1 points and 6.6 rebounds last year but opted to seek a transfer last month after the end of Tony Barbee‘s first season.

He’ll sit out next year and have two years of eligibility left.

Ross reportedly also considered West Virginia, Clemson and Texas Tech.

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Daphne’s T.J. Yeldon, the state’s top running back for 2012, commits to Auburn

Daphne’s T.J. Yeldon, the state’s top running back, said Tuesday he’ll sign with Auburn in 2012.

AuburnSports.comInside the Auburn Tigers and AuburnUndercover.com reported the news first.

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The 6-foot-2, 205-pound Yeldon, a four-star recruit, is among the top-ranked running backs for 2012. Rivals ranks him as the No. 5 overall back, 247Sports has him as the No. 2 all-purpose back and Scout lists him as the No. 16 running back.

Rivals lists him as the No. 58 player nationally, 247Sports has him at No. 94 and Scout at No. 98.

Yeldon, who visited Auburn on Big Cat Weekend and during last weekend’s mini-camp, picked the Tigers over a number of big-time schools, including Alabama, Arkansas, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Penn State and Tennessee.

He ran for 1,150 yards and 18 touchdowns while leading Daphne High to the 6A state title last year as a junior.

Yeldon has already accepted an invitation to play in the U.S. Army All-America Game in January.

He is Auburn’s ninth commitment for 2012. Here’s the full list. Ratings are by Rivals/Scout/247Sports:

  • Shane Callahan, OL, 6-6, 277, Parker, Colo. (Chaparral High), 4-star/4/3
  • Joshua Holsey, CB, 5-9, 171, Fairburn, Ga. (Creekside High), 4-star/4/3
  • Darrion Hutcherson, ATH, 6-7, 245, Dadeville, Ala. (Dadeville High), 3-star/4/3
  • Ricardo Louis, WR, 6-2, 190, Miami Beach, Fla. (Miami Beach High), 4-star/4/4
  • Cassanova McKinzy, LB, 6-3, 220, Birmingham, Ala. (Woodlawn High), 4-star/4/4
  • Ricky Parks, TE, 6-3, 230, Hogansville, Ga. (Callaway High), 4-star/4/4
  • Darius Philon, DE, 6-2, 265, Prichard, Ala. (Vigor), NR/3-star/3
  • Zeke Pike, QB, 6-5, 220, Fort Mitchell, Ky. (Dixie Heights High), 4-star/5/5
  • T.J. Yeldon, RB, 6-2, 205, Daphne, Ala. (Daphne High), 4-star/4/4

Here’s a look at where the players stack up on some overall lists by the recruiting sites:

Rivals Top 250

  • 58. T.J. Yeldon, RB
  • 72. Zeke Pike, QB
  • 92. Ricky Parks, TE
  • 191. Shane Callahan, OL
The 247
  • 18. Zeke Pike, QB
  • 66. Ricky Parks, TE
  • 110. T.J. Yeldon, RB
  • 165. Cassanova McKinzy, LB

Scout (top 250)

  • 25. Zeke Pike, QB
  • 88. Ricky Parks, TE
  • 98. T.J. Yeldon, RB
  • 117. Joshua Holsey, CB
  • 159. Ricardo Louis, WR
  • 176. Shane Callahan, OL

ESPNU Top 150

  • 32. Ricardo Louis, WR
  • 73. Ricky Parks, TE
  • 77. Joshua Holsey, CB
  • 121. T.J. Yeldon, RB

Gene Chizik TV show “Journey to a Championship” to air on SportsSouth tonight

We wrote about Auburn’s coaching contracts for today’s newspaper. Read all about it here.

But if you’d like to watch a TV show with Gene Chizik telling tales about the Tigers’ run to the BCS national championship, you’ll have to wait until tonight.

The unfortunately-punctuated show — “In My Own Words: Gene Chizik ‘Journey to a Championship’” — will air tonight at 10:30 p.m. ET on SportsSouth. The 30-minute show features Chizik talking with FOX SportsSouth producer Ray Goodrich about Auburn’s 14-0 season.

Here’s a brief synopsis: “In the program, Chizik offers up stories and anecdotes from last year’s season, including looks at significant games as well as the play of Heisman Trophy winner Cam Newton and Lombardi Trophy winner Nick Fairley.”

It will also air at these times on SportsSouth (all times Eastern):

  • June 17: 5:30 p.m., 11:30 p.m.
  • June 18: 2:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m.
  • June 26: 8 p.m.
  • June 30: 9:30 p.m.

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June 13, 2011

Auburn football coaching contracts: How much and for how long?

The contracts are out. Here’s what Auburn football coaching staff will make and for how long:

  • Head coach Gene Chizik: $3.5 million (62% raise) through Dec. 15, 2015
  • Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn: $1.3 million (160% raise) through Dec. 12, 2013
  • Defensive coordinator Ted Roof: $500,000 (22.9% raise) through June 30, 2013
  • Wide receivers coach/assistant head coach Trooper Taylor: $425,000 (21% raise) through June 30, 2014  + $50,000 bonus if still employed first Monday following National Signing Day
  • Offensive line coach Jeff Grimes: $400,000 (25.4% raise) through June 30, 2013
  • Running backs coach/recruiting coordinator Curtis Luper: $330,000 (15.4% raise) through June 30, 2013
  • Safeties coach Tommy Thigpen: $320,000 (16.4% raise) through June 30, 2013
  • Defensive line coach Mike Pelton: $300,000 through June 30, 2013
  • Special teams coordinator Jay Boulware: $255,000 (10.4% raise) through June 30, 2013
  • Cornerbacks coach Phillip Lolley: $255,000 (10.4% raise) through June 30, 2013

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Also of note, Chizik’s buyout information:

  • Termination from present until after first season: $10 million
  • After second season: $7.5 million
  • After third season: $5 million
  • After fourth season: $3.5 million
  • After fifth season: $0

Should Chizik want to terminate the contract, he’ll owe Auburn $3.5 million.

Also of interest, Chizik’s $3.5 million yearly compensation comes mostly from TV/radio appearances ($1.5 million) and personal endorsements ($1.5 million). His base salary of $500,000 remains the same as his original contact.

Auburn assistants to be paid $4.085 million this year

Auburn’s assistant coaches will make a combined $4.085 million next year, making them the highest-paid group of assistants at a public university in the college game.

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The staff payroll is $470,000 higher than the nation’s second-highest: Texas a $3.615 million. According to the USA Today, it’s higher than the last two years’ highest-paid assistant groups: Tennessee in 2009 ($3.325 million) and Alabama in 2010 ($3.265 million).

Offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, who turned down the Vanderbilt job in December, will earn $1.3 million next year, according to the report, tops among college assistant coaches. That’s a raise of $800,000.

No assistant on the staff will make less than $255,000 in 2011. Three topped the $400,000 mark: defensive coordinator Ted Roof ($500,000), wide receivers coach/assistant head coach Trooper Taylor ($425,000) and offensive line coach Jeff Grimes ($400,000).

Auburn announced last week that head coach Gene Chizik will receive $3.5 million a year under a contract extension that goes through 2015.

The total compensations for Chizik and his nine assistants comes to $7.585 million.

June 11, 2011

Auburn hoops gets 2012 commitment from Southwest Dekalb shooting guard Jordan Price

Jordan Price, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard from Southwest Dekalb High in Lithonia, Ga., committed to play for Tony Barbee and Auburn in 2012-13 on Saturday.

AuburnSports.com reported the news first. Follow the blog on Twitter and Facebook.

247Sports lists him as a four-star recruit and the No. 90 player nationally, while Rivals and Scout both list him as a three-star player. Scout has him as the No. 21 shooting guard nationally in the 2012 class.

Price, who made an unofficial visit to Auburn this weekend, had offers from Georgia Tech, Memphis and Ole Miss.

He averaged 19.1 points per game as a junior, leading Soutwest Dekalb to a 25-5 record.

Price is Auburn’s second commitment for 2012, joining three-star small forward Shaquille Johnson of Alpharetta, Ga.